For the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), quality assurance is an important aspect in the implementation of projects and programmes. To ensure that water supplied to a municipality is actually clean and affordable in the long term or that young people benefit from their training and also find a job, a project must be thoroughly planned beforehand. For the execution of projects and programmes, the Austrian Development Agency recommends the common methodology applied in the European Union - project cycle management.
You can find instructions and aids and the requisite formats for the implementation of your project here. The following information facilitates project execution.
A major task of project management is monitoring. This denotes a systematic comparison between project planning and implementation (allocated resources, activities, anticipated results, impacts) to be able to take the necessary steering steps. Information must be collected and analysed for this. Deviations can then be identified and adjustments made to achieve project objectives. Monitoring also keeps track of external factors and their effects on the project measures while taking them into account when adjusting the plan.
A monitoring plan must already be drawn up in the project planning stage, specifying who is to compile, process and pass on what information when. The monitoring plan references the situation at the outset of the project (baseline) and the elements in the Logical framework (particularly the indicators) and helps to verify at set stages whether the objectives have been achieved or adjustment measures are necessary.
In the general planning phase and in preparing monitoring systems, attention should already be paid to avoiding possible weaknesses. When setting up a monitoring system, we recommend considering specific steps in close cooperation with the relevant stakeholders.
In project monitoring (including monitoring missions), technical-conceptual backstopping and tasks ensuring possible planning adjustments are covered by the project administration costs and cannot be offset under direct project costs.
Note: Planning adjustments can have contractual consequences. If, for example, reallocations in the budget are unavoidable, a reallocation request may be necessary. If there are delays as a result, a project extension request may be necessary.
In all cases, major planning adjustments must be notified as soon as possible to the competent field office or ADA head office in Vienna. The responsible experts of the Austrian Development Agency also conduct monitoring missions. It is therefore important to give timely notification of major occurrences, events and activities or possible joint monitoring missions.
All contractual partners of ADA must report regularly on the respective project progress and document the monitoring conducted. This helps both sides to keep up with implementation activities and ensures the supervision of the proper use of public funds.
Reporting is usually semi-annual, with an activities report on implementation at mid-year and a year-end progress report providing an annual recap on progress. Exact report deadlines are specified in the contract or in the general terms and conditions.
The reports consist of a narrative and a financial part and must be written in German, English or French, depending on the project, must adhere to the description in the approved project document and make reference to the objectives and anticipated results cited therein. Every report must be accompanied by a confirmation under Point 4 of the General Terms and Conditions.
The narrative part of the progress report must contain a detailed analysis of progress in project implementation. Progress must be evaluated in detail with reference to the intervention logic (project objective, results and their indicators) and describe the monitoring and steering measures in the period under review. Also important are measures for the future implementation and sustainability of the project. If agreed by contract, a detailed plan of activities and the budget for the subsequent year must be attached to the progress report.
The financial report (see General Terms and Conditions) must give account of the use of provided funds with a list of income and expenditure (including vouchers) in line with the itemisation in the approved budget. Financial reporting always comprises the whole project budget. If own or external funds have been invested, these must also be documented. An inventory of purchased material and equipment (procurement cost above EUR 400) must be attached, containing exact details on each single item (e.g. location).
Where an audit is required according to the project document or the funding beneficiary is explicitly authorised in writing by ADA to undertake an audit, the original documents need not be submitted; instead an annual audit must be carried out by an external chartered accountant. Before commissioning, the external auditor must be selected in agreement with ADA and must be an authorised audit firm.
After completion of a project, a final report must be submitted. This is also made up of a narrative and financial part. The narrative part should provide detailed information on the attainment of objectives and results, the impacts achieved and the measures for ensuring sustainability. A simple enumeration of activities is not sufficient. The evaluation report must also be submitted with the final report at the latest.
The Evaluation Policy of the Austrian development cooperation (2019) and the ADA Guidelines for Programme and Project Evaluations (2020) set the overall framework, standards and guiding principles for programme and project evaluations at ADA.
Programmes and projects that are funded or implemented by ADA are generally conducted by (an) external, independent evaluator(s). Evaluation management can lie with Implementing Partners (Partner-led evaluations) or with ADA (ADA-led evaluations). In the case of partner-led evaluations, the evaluation budget must be included in the programme or project budget and the Terms of Reference (ToR), inception report (IR) and evaluation report (ER) must always be agreed upon with ADA.
Programme and project evaluations at ADA are guided by five principles:
1. Evaluate programmes and projects purposefully
2. Use the OECD/DAC evaluation criteria selectively and thoughtfully
3. Apply evaluative thinking throughout a programme or project cycle
4. Carefully balance scope, budget and time
5. Use and learn from evaluations
Each evaluation process has 3 distinct phases: design, implementation and utilisation, with 15 steps along the way, starting with the planning, preparing and commissioning of an evaluation, through to the inception, inquiry and synthesis of an evaluation to working with the evaluation results. Please consult the ADA-Guidelines for PP Evaluations (2020) for further information and guidance, including on how to estimate a realistic evaluation budget and for step-by-step guidance along the evaluation process as well as for practical tools and templates.
Contractual partners of ADA are obliged as far as possible to publicise the funded measures and make reference to the donor - Austrian Development Cooperation.
You can find the requisite information on this in the guideline on the visibility of Austrian Development Cooperation.
Funding logos must be attached to purchased items (e.g. medical instruments or agricultural equipment, office equipment or vehicles) that can be ordered as stickers in different sizes from ADA via email. The funding logo must be printed on publications and banners or advertising material for events or documentation. Mention must be made of assistance from Austrian Development Cooperation in speeches or interviews about funded projects and programmes.
Contractual terms and conditions and contractual changes
Besides the contract itself, constituent contractual elements include the project document, the general terms and conditions and the the Guidelines for the Visibility of the Austrian Development Cooperation.
The project document attached to the funding contract is particularly important. Changes to the project (as described in the project document) can affect the funding contract. If, for example, it is apparent that the project will overrun the scheduled term, a project extension must be applied for in good time. If budget changes are necessary, a reallocation request must be submitted. You can find detailed information on this in the instructions for project partners.
Requests for approval of changes must be addressed to the competent field office or the officer in charge at ADA head office. A specimen request is appended in the Annex of the Instructions for project partners.
For overnight expenses and daily allowances under the general terms and conditions, the ceilings set in the provision on travelling expenses may not be exceeded. Please therefore take account of the respective ceiling (Fee scale 2a or 2b) in the respective regulation.
When purchasing goods or commissioning services from external providers, several alternative offers must be requested. The selection of the offer with the best price-performance ratio must be verifiable, comprehensible and documented. The provision on this is contained in the GTC (purchase of goods or services).
If the purchase price exceed EUR 1,000, two offers must be requested, for more than EUR 7,000, three offers, and at a price over EUR 22,000, goods/services must be put out to public tender under local procurement laws.
If services are to be commissioned as part of a project, a job description must be prepared beforehand. Contracting expert consultants requires Terms of Reference and a specification profile for the planned technical expert advice.
The instructions for project partners on project extensions and reallocations provide precise directions on when approval must be obtained for contractual amendments. The instructions including templates for project extension requests and/or budget reallocation can be found here.
Depending on the instrument (finance as part of the country strategy, NGO cofinance, business partnerships, etc), there are various formats for reporting. The form for Confirmation under Point 4 of the General Terms and Conditions is the same for all of them.